Tag Archive | "germany"

The best ultramobile computing project so far: 1 year on a train.

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After having problems with an apartment rental Media Studies student Leonie Müller, 23, decided it was a good idea to pack everything into storage, buy an unlimited train ticket and spend the next year working on trains. Three months into the project she’s become the focus of attention when it comes to digital nomads. Naturally we’re not interested in how she sleeps, washes her hair or makes her own food, we’re more interested in what tech she’s using and how she’s using it, right? What ultramobile tech do you use when you’re living on a train?

Leonie and her Surface Pro 3

Leonie and her Surface Pro 3 (Source)

As a German resident I’ve got plenty of experience of working on German trains. The highlight has to be my Nachtzug experience but in general I’m confined to a seat-back table or a lap.  Occasional days in a train are fun but how do you do it every day for a year? A Surface Pro is at the center of it all.

I use the Surface Pro 3 too and despite the large surface area it requires for standing it’s a powerful, lightweight PC packed into a well-built chassis. It’s got excellent WiFi reception capabilities too which is rather critical when you’re relying on free hotspots, in-train WiFi.

The German ‘DB100’ ticket costs over 4000 Euro for the year and includes trains that have WiFi…but it doesn’t include WiFi. A days pass costs €4.95 and if you’re traveling through hills or under tunnels you won’t get much reception. To cut the cost Leonie took a T-Mobile phone contract which allows her to add a months in-train WiFi for the same €4.95. I assume she’s using the same data tariff for the hotspot on her smartphone. My tip would be to get a separate 4G hotspot though because you can put it in the luggage rack or outside a window (not on a train, obviously) and often get better reception. 4G is a must when you’re traveling through Germany too as many of the ‘blackspots’ were filled with 4G-only coverage. Leonie explains in a blog post that it’s not always easy with the on-board WiFi though. “Obviously ‘flowing WiFi’ is pretty cool… the ICE (train) is a 300 km/h cross-country transport and it’s not possible to get total coverage. I try and view the WiFi as an extra and I’m happy when it works.” Clearly offline working is important! Station stops become synchronization stops.

But what about the noise? Leonie invested in a pair of noise cancelling headphones for the noisy times.

Leonie is documenting the year-long project on her blog Wherever You Go, There You Are! and is using it as a part of the of her studies for her Bachelors degree. Look forward to reading more in 2016! In the meantime, if you’ve got ultramobile computing tips for Leonie, drop them below.

Related: Choosing a travel PC. My tips and choices, which incidentally don’t include a Surface Pro 3. Read the article to find out why.

I’ll be traveling to Berlin next week for IFA so I’ll give you a rundown on the kit in an article soon. Hint: The Surface Pro 3 is at the center of my tech kit too.

[German translation by Chippy.]

Odys Wintab 9 Plus available with FullHD, HDMI, 3G for €199

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The 8.9-inch category looks like it’s going to be popular in 2015. Both ASUS and Toshiba have announced interesting products and in Germany we see that Odys are now offering a really interesting sub-500 gram option for a great price. The Odys Wintab 9 Plus 3G includes an HDMI port, separate USB and charging port, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of SSD and there’s a 3G modem thrown into the mix. A free year of Office 365 rounds-out what could be a great ultra-mobile PC package.

Odys have a number of Windows tablets in the market in Germany and the new 9 Plus continues their trend of low-cost solutions. By adding the 3G it makes it more interesting for ultra-mobile fans and because this is a 9-inch tablet it has enough space around the frame for an HDMI port, a micro_USB port (OTG and charging capable) and a full-size USB port. The official specifications don’t mention the full-size USB port but it’s clear to see on the images.

Odys Wintab 9 Plus (2) Odys Wintab 9

In an unboxing video by InstantMobile (German) you’ll also see the full USB port and an included USB OTB cable which is always good to have shipped with an OTG-capable device. First impressions includes comments on the brightness (acceptable) and the aluminium rear cover.  The HDMI port is a mini (not micro) port.  Charging time is said to be around 6 hours which certainly isn’t quick for a 24Wh battery.  There’s no GPS module inside. InstantMobile have also made a video focusing on gaming, Royal Revolt included.

The ASUS T90 Chi is a slightly smaller and much lighter solution in the 8.9-inch tablet space and it comes with a matching keyboard but at a street price of €199, with 3G, the Odys Wintab 9 Plus is a unique and well-specified ultra-mobile. We’ll keep an eye out for this model in other countries and if you spot it, possibly under another brand, please let us know. In the meantime we’ve put a request out to Odys for a review sample. Full specifications and more are available in our database.

Update: The Pipo W6 3G looks very similar although there’s no full-size USB port and the port layout is slightly different.

DataPass Deal: HP Stream 8 with 3G, free data and Office 365 for €175

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I’ve just ordered the HP Stream 8 5900ng 8-inch Windows tablet because of an amazing European 3G deal. The HP Stream 8 5900ng includes an unlocked 3G module and comes with 200MB of Europe-roaming data per month for 2 years. You can top-up on a regular or one-off basis. According to information on the HP Germany website, USA is included from the 1st Feb 2015. Is this the ultra-mobile PC deal of the year? My company just paid  €149 after entering an offer code and taking into account the sales-tax rebate. Office 365 is also included in the deal. Even without Office 365 this the best 3G-enabled ultra-mobile PC deal I’ve ever seen in Europe.

HP Stream 8HP Stream 8

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Lumia 920 comes in at €649 Euro RRP (€599 Street)

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We asked the question yesterday…is the Nokia Lumia 920 worth 600 Euro and picked up a few comments from Nokia PR in Europe. At first I thought they were suggesting the RRP (recommended retail price) would come in at under 600 Euro but a further message suggested that we should make a full test before making a decision about value for money. Fair enough but there are people waiting in line you know! Today we get confirmation that the price isn’t coming in under 600 Euro.

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Ultrabooks For Deutschland

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One in ten of you reading this article are from Germany, a country that leads the world in Ultrabook availability. How do we know this? We know this because we regularly scan retailers in USA, Germany, UK, Canada, France, Italy and Australia for information on pricing and availability for our database and Germany is always out front.

ultrabook overview

Those of you that think the English-language countries are the place to look for Ultrabook trends, reports, sales numbers need to think again because not only is there a huge availability of Ultrabooks, the cheapest Ultrabook is close to the $600 mark (pre-tax.) 599 Euros buys you the Lenovo U310 today – inclusive of 19% sales tax which most EU businesses will claim back.

Here’s a list of interesting Ultrabooks, including my comments, that you might want to look at if you’re a QWERTZ person. Pass it on to your German friends!

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Wortmann Terra Mobile 1450–Low Cost Ultrabooks for Germany

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TERRA MOBILE Ultrabook 1450_seitlich rechts

It looks like Wortmann, a local brand in Germany, are following suit with Novatech, a local brand in the UK (maybe there’s a company connection?) by offering a low-cost no-frills Ultrabook. The Wortmann Terra Mobile 1450 is currently available at a launch price of 678 Euro, it matches some of the lowest street prices for Ultrabooks in the region, and offers a full 128GB SSD and a 58.5Wh battery – both worth having in your Ultrabook!

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Toshiba Z830-10J Now Shipping in Europe, Shortly here in the Ultrabooknews Studio

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toshiba-portege-z830

We’ve just had a note from Toshiba Europe to say that the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10J is now shipping in Germany, Austria and, I believe, the Benelux area. Specs are as we have then in the database (note it’s the Satellite and not the Portege in Europe…so far) and the official spec list confirms a matt screen. (Entspiegelt) Recommended retail price is €1099 but I see a number of retailers offering it for €999. Amazon for example. (Toshiba Satellite Z830-10J – aff.)

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Toshiba Z830 UK Availability Announcement, Again!

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Toshiba UK, operating independently from West Europe, North America and other regions have had specs, pricing and availability for the Toshiba Z830 available for a few weeks now but, for good measure, (or we suspect, a bit of timely fact regurgitation from The Register) the story is doing the rounds again today.

Toshiba UK already have model names, price and details available (details here) so all you’ll need to do is to wait for the first hands-on and then you can finally make your decision between the 4 Ultrabooks and the Ultrabook alternatives.

Interestingly, one large electronics retailer in Germany is convinced that the Z830 with be available on the 7th November [Conrad]. We’re trying to confirm this and are also looking forward to the Z830 as the first review device here on Ultrabooknews. More details on that in due course.

Via Pocket Lint

Toshiba Satellite Z830 Up for Pre-Order – €999

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Excellent news! I was worried that the entry level Toshiba Z830 would be above €1000 but it’s not. The Toshiba Satellite Z830 Ultrabook is available for pre-order in Europe (or at least in Germany and UK) for €999. Even Amazon Germany are listing it.  [Z830 At Amazon – Aff.]

Update: Toshiba UK are now listing a range of models.

toshiba-portege-z830-ultrabook_01

The model we’ve found at at least four retailers is the  Toshiba Satellite Z830-10J  (4GB, Core i5 2467 @1.6Ghz, 128GB SSD and delivery estimates range through November.

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Acer Aspire S3. Amazon Pre-Order for €799 in Germany, Italy

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Acer-Aspire-S3-951-20_rfv_open1We reported last week that the Acer Aspire S3 had turned up for pre-order in Italy at €799. As expected, it’s Aspire S3 available for order in other countries too and for those of you that like to order through Amazon, it’s now available in the German and Italian stores. Again the price in €799 which undercuts the cheapest Apple MacBook Air model by at least €40 but there’s still no availability info.

One thing we found out this week that there are no Ethernet or VGA ports on the device despite many specifications lists, including some early Acer specification lists, highlighting this capability. This could be important to you. [Confirmation comes directly from Notebookitalia who kindly took our query to their local Acer contact.]

I’ve linked Amazon on our the Acer Aspire S3 information page for those of you visiting from Germany or Italy. As I find other Amazon country availability, I’ll link the relevant stores in so check the database regularly.

Tweet-Walk for Droid, N900, HD2 info in Bonn.

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There’s nothing more fun than walking from mobile phone shop to mobile phone shop trying to work out what exactly is going on in the market. For a start it’s shocking to hear the differences in opinion between shops of the same ‘brand’ and secondly, none of them have a clue what’s going on with their own websites let along what’s happening in the market. Questions about the Motorola Milestone today were met with that millisecond pause that tells you that what comes out of their mouth is going to be bullshit!

What I did discover is the following (that will only be of interest to Germans, that can read English. (note-to-self: Maybe widening your niche area might result in more visitors!)

As I went from shop to shop I tweeted my findings:

Vodafone and 02 have confirmation that the Droid / Milestone is coming. I’m a Vodafone customer who’s contract finishes in Feb so this is interesting to me but there’s something even more interesting.

O2 have an interesting ‘transparent’ system where they’ve separated the phones and contracts into different products. A phone is free and costs 5,10,15 or 20 per month over 2 years. It allows them to sell voice and data services on a month-by-month basis. You can combine multiple products in different ways which benefits someone like me who rarely makes a voice call but is connected to the data channel for most of the day. I’ve been offered a Motorola Milestone/Droid for 20 Euro per month / 24 months (480 Euros) I can then add a 0 Euro per month voice contract. (0,15 Euros per call/sms) and then (and this is the cool part) add a 300MB or 5GB HSPA (in Bonn) contract on for 10 or 25 Euro per month. (Actually they are both flat rate data but throttle down to GPRS after the limit is reached.) For 45 Euro per month I get a Droid and 5GB of lovely 7.2mbps data. Vodafone, you’ve got about 5 days to offer me something else because apparently the Milestone/Droid will be here next week.

 

Other updates: Amazon have one weeks exclusivity on the Nkia N900 in Germany. Nokia shop gets it one week later. (Should be under 2 weeks)

I didn’t get a chance to talk to the T-Mobile people about the HTC HD2. It’s coming soon and it looks like it will be exclusive to T-Mobile for a while as no-one else knew anything about it. The T-Mobile shop was rammed full so I left. Maybe I’ll check them out again later.

I spotted the Omnia Pro B7610 in a few shops and spoke to one person about why it took too long to reach the shelves in Germany. ‘Germany is a different place’ he said. ‘Everyone else is casual about faults but it’s different in Germany.’ I had to laugh out loud because it’s so true. The Germans are the best quality control testers in the world!

It’s funny how a walk around the shops results in a different conclusion to browsing the web. There’s an extra special element of excitement that can catch you unaware. Right now I’m seriously thinking about the Milestone for next week. If I get it I’ll start a sub-blog droid-milestone.carrypad.com My only worry is that I will end up with a QWERTZ keyboard.